Joint Damage

Joint damage wrist

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of joint damage

Degeneration of musculoskeletal structures is a common occurrence at the onset of old age. They lead to numerous complications and may even cause chronic disability. A common disorder belonging to the above category is “joint damage”. The epidemiological studies by the Arthritis Foundation, United States suggest that nearly 40.9% of the adult population with diabetes will suffer from some form of joint disease. Now, joint damage and diseases are common in young adults, teens and small children. Numerous factors are responsible for these incidences. At present, the joint damage has become a major global health burden. It affects performance and productivity in different spheres.

 

What is joint damage?

Joint damage fractureJoint damage is a collective term for a group of conditions which cause degeneration and damage of the bones, joints, and cartilages, leading to temporary or permanent disability.

Mechanical injury, loss of mineral content of bones or structural deformities may precipitate this condition.

In a majority of the cases, joint damage is manifested as pain, inflammation, swelling, and in worst cases, immobility of the vital joints in the body.

At present, joint damage is one of the primary causes of disability in old people. Statistics show that joint damage affects people of all age groups, genders and ethnic groups worldwide.

 

What causes joint damage?

Joint damage is caused by multiple environmental, physiological and genetic factors. The commonly analyzed causes are described below-

  • Natural degeneration of joints and cartilages with age
  • Degeneration of synovial fluid present in the joints (knee joints), leading to increased friction
  • Erosion of cartilage tissues
  • Bones become very porous (cause: mineral loss)
  • Infection and inflammation of cartilage tissues
  • Autoimmune diseases (defects in Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase 22 gene) that affect the synovium tissues
  • Hormonal fluctuations after menopause
  • Joint damage wristMechanical injury
  • Infections or diseases of the joints
  • Deficiency of vitamins (Vitamin C and D) and essential micronutrients in the regular diet
  • Rigorous physical activities
  • Stress and strain on muscles, bones, and joints (common in people who lift loads or stand for long hours. Eg: Factory workers)
  • A few food items like processed meat, refined carbohydrates, and artificial fats (cause joint inflammation and pain)
  • History of joint diseases in the family
  • Obesity and overweight conditions (exert pressure on knee and ankles)
  • Over-the-counter drugs like antihistamines, corticosteroids, tranquilizers, diuretics etc
  • Incorrect body postures
  • Accidental bending or twisting (may cause injury to the meniscus, ligament or tendons)
  • Accumulation of waste products (Eg: uric acid) in the body
  • Chemicals like lead, arsenic, cadmium, benzene or mercury (induce toxicity)
  • Low intake of fluids
  • Defective metabolism
  • Congenital defects

 

What are the warning signs of joint damage?

Joint damage is easily recognized through some common symptoms. These are described below-

  • Pain and inflammation in joints
  • Joints become stiff and immobile in the morning
  • Redness, warmth and increased tenderness of affected joints
  • Bones that stick at different locations form bulges
  • The occurrence of sudden shooting pain and burning sensation in and around the joints
  • Pain may radiate from joints to the nearby areas like pelvic region, lower back or lower extremities
  • Bone deformities
  • Peeled off whitish flakes from the skin covering affected joints
  • Difficulty performing normal activities like walking, running, climbing stairs etc
  • Restricted motion of joints
  • Fever and general body weakness
  • Body pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • The height of a person reduces (erosion of joints in the vertebra forms humps and affects the height)
  • Joint movements lead to sounds at the joints
  • Throbbing pain in joints and adjoining muscles after some physical activity or normal movements
  • Joint pain at night disturbs sleep
  • The patient cannot restore proper postures

 

What are the different types of joint damage?

Joint damage xrayAs a person grows old, the joints degenerate. This predisposes the body to several joint diseases. These are as follows

  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most severe type of joint damage. Here the joints, muscles and the nearby tissues erode and degenerate. Pain and inflammation of joints occur in this disease. The bones may protrude at odd locations. This may lead to deformed bones. The patients may experience immobility at the very end stage of the disease.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: It is a type of joint damage wherein inflammation of the linings of the joints occurs. This can cause bone displacement and bone erosion. This condition severely affects the joints of the cervical spine, hands, feet, and knees.
  • Osteoporosis: In this type of joint damage, essential minerals are lost from the bones. Most of the bones become brittle and porous. Here, the rate of bone degradation (resorption) exceeds the rate of bone formation.
  • Paget’s disease: It is a type of metabolic bone disease. Here the bones get replaced by fibrous tissues. This causes joint damage.
  • Osteomalacia: Osteomalacia is a type of joint damage in which the bones become very soft. Deficiency of Vitamin D or calcium in the body triggers this condition.
  • Osteomyelitis: In this disease, bacteria infect the bones and bone marrow.
  • Gout: Gout is a joint disease in which excess waste products build up in the body. The most common waste product is “uric acid crystals”. Acute joint pain and inflammation occurs in this condition.
  • Degenerative disc disease: It is a kind of joint damage caused by erosion and dislocation of vertebral discs.

 

What diagnostic tests are necessary?

A few diagnostic tests are essential to detect the exact cause of joint damage-

  • X-rays (to look for damage of joints or cartilages)
  • Synovial fluid analysis (to detect presence of crystals)
  • MRI scan (to detect injuries in joints and cartilages)
  • CT scan
  • Digital radiography

 

Treatment and prevention

Osteoarthritis 

Treatment 

  • Medications to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation are prescribed.An antidepressant is prescribed to those with osteoarthritis to help relieve pain.
  • Individual therapies such as physiotherapy can help in strengthening muscles and increasing mobility in the joints.
  • Ways to reduce stress in the patient’s lifestyle will be taught during occupational therapy. Here, the patients are taught ways to help make their day-to-day activities easier by reducing stress levels and pain.
  • Certain exercises can help in stretching the muscles and increase mobility. Tai chi and yoga can help in reducing stress levels and increasing muscle strength.
  • In case other treatment methods do not work, surgery is done to help realign the joints or replace the joints depending on the severity of osteoarthritis.

Prevention 

  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Do not indulge in first or second-hand smoking.
  • Maintain a clean and healthy diet.
  • Get a regular checkup done if you are above the age of 50 years.

Osteoporosis 

Treatment 

  • In cases, if the risk of fracture is low, doctors recommend that the patient gets a good amount of exercise to help maintain mobility and flexibility. They also look at ways in which they can help ease the symptoms of the conditions.
  • Medications to help retain the bone density are prescribed to reduce pain.
  • Certain home therapies such as taking estrogen supplements help in increasing bone density.

Prevention 

  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Get sufficient amounts of vitamin D.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.

Gout 

Treatment 

  • Medications to help reduce the attacks of gout are prescribed. These medications may start off on a higher dosage, but over time the dosage of the medications are reduced.
  • Medications that can help relieve pain and inflammation are prescribed to those with gout. These medications can be consumed orally or injected into the joints.

Prevention 

  • Stay hydrated.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Maintain a clean and healthy diet.

Paget disease 

Treatment 

  • If the symptoms of Paget’s disease are not as severe, treatment will not be necessary. In case, the symptoms increase, treatment options will be considered.
  • Medications that are prescribed to osteoporosis patients will be prescribed to those who have been diagnosed with Paget’s disease. These medications help in reducing the symptoms and increase bone density.
  • In rare cases, surgery may be required to help fractures heal, replace damaged joints, realigning joints and reducing the pressure on the knees.

Prevention 

  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Ensure that you do not fall.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle; doing so can reduce the chances of joint damage.
  • Consume clean and healthy foods. Practicing this habit can go a long way in not only reducing joint pains and damage but also avoiding other health conditions.
  • Exercise regularly, maintaining this habit can help keep the joints active and reduce pain.
Don'ts
  • Consume alcohol, doing so can increase bone degeneration.
  • Indulge in smoking, this habit can lead to degeneration of spinal disks and contribute to osteoarthritis.
  • Wear shoes that may be tight or too high. Doing so can increase pain and discomfort.

 

 

 

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Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
Green, brown, & bitter: The instant advantages of including fenugreek in your diet Did you know the earliest usage of fenugreek can be traced back to the Egyptian civilization? Find out…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) test Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is an enzyme that is found in every cell of the body and it plays…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
APL IgM Test
Antiphospholipid Antibody(APL)-IgM test The antiphospholipid antibodies are specific protein in the body directed against the phospholipids. It is used to detect…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
helping friend with depression
Support and care tips for helping people with depression Read to find out what is depression, its causes and symptoms. Also check out the steps describing how…
Blood Disorders cancer
Immunotherapy immunotherapy is a treatment that boosts the body's immune system to identify the cancer cells and fight cancer.
Lung cancer xray
Lobectomy Lobectomy is a surgery where a lobe of the diseased lung is removed. It is mainly done to…
heartfail_2
Open Heart Surgery An open heart surgery is a major procedure performed to treat heart diseases like congenital heart problem, heart…
Miracle extract from the root of maca: 10 ways it can help you! Maca root has been used for years in herbal medicine. Today scientific research is unearthing fresh evidence in…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
Quinine: How gin and tonic came to be known as a potent health elixir The discovery of quinine-containing tree bark is sometimes considered the most serendipitous medical discovery of the 17th century.
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
Shilajit: A miracle Himalayan herb for an active and happy life The Himalayas contain more wonders than you thought. Shilajit is a miracle herb that is widely used in…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
anti ds dna test
Anti Ds-DNA antibody Test The  Anti Ds-DNA antibody test is used to diagnose the disease called lupus or more aptly the SLE(Systematic…
Ca 19.9 test
CA19.9 Test CA 19.9 is a cancer antigen that exists on the surface of cancer-causing cells. The levels of CA…
These are the top foods to increase your hemoglobin count It is important to add iron-rich foods into your diet in order to increase hemoglobin. Deficiency of hemoglobin could…
Vagus nerve: 7 health benefits of stimulating the “gut-brain” connection As a matter of fact, there are two vagus nerves namely the left and the right but is…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside your chest. It…
CLA: A breakthrough weight loss supplement with minimal side effects Tried every weight loss supplement in the market with no substantial gain? Why not try CLA supplements, derived…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
What is Qigong and how can it help you channelize you inner “Qi”? Qigong is an integrated way of performing a traditional exercise regimen that can help in promoting health, mental…
Tissue Transglutaminase Antibody (tTG) Test Transglutaminase is an enzyme present in our body and is involved in protein metabolism. A tTg test is…
6 arguments in favour of glucosamine and where can you find it Studies have shown that glucosamine works by preventing the breakdown of cartilage of the joints. This is usually…
xylitol gum
Xylitol : Is this the right sugar substitute for you? Discovered during World War 2 owing to sugar shortage, xylitol has become a common name in pharamaceutical industry.…
vital organ diseases
Common diseases that could cripple your vital organs Brain, heart, kidney, lungs, and liver - these vital organs are indeed vital for your survival. However, these…
Cordyceps: How the Caterpillar fungus works as a proven cancer-shield Strange as it may sound, but cordyceps or "caterpillar fungus", a fungus variety native to the Himalayas may…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main theme of general…
Bronchoscopy procedure
Bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy is a procedure where in a scope is inserted into the lung pathway to observe any growth…
Thyroid disorders
Thyroid Profile Thyroid profile is a panel of blood tests performed to check if an individual is suffering from any…
Tamarind: The top health benefits of this staple Asian ingredient Did you know this sweet and sour pulpy fruit does more than just add a tangy flavor to…
Hibiscus: Nourish your beauty and health with these vibrant blooms Hibiscus is a trumpet shaped flower found abundantly in tropical countries. It has been historically used for its…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
Trisodium Phosphate: How a paint thinner made its way into your breakfast Ever thought how toxic chemicals find their way into our foods? How can they harm our body? And…
folate test
Folate test The Folate test measures and monitors the levels of folic acid in the blood. This test is also…
BRAT Diet: What is the right way to follow this diarrhea-relieving diet? BRAT diet, a simple diet consisting of just bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, can help you combat the…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
Alp enzyme-test
ALP test – Alkaline Phosphate ALP or alkaline phosphate is an enzyme mainly produced by the liver and gallbladder. ALP test measures the…
iron deficiency profile
Iron Deficiency Profile An iron deficiency profile is a battery of blood tests which are performed in order to determine the…
antiHEV IgM test
Anti hepatitis E virus (Anti HEV) IgM Test Anti HEV IgM test determines the level of the IgM antibodies in the blood, The disease is often…
sodium chloride
Halotherapy: How inhaling salt can work wonders for your body Halotherapy is quickly gaining popularity amongst those with respiratory diseases. It has shown promise in its treatment.
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…

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